Ludum Dare 26 Entry – NightCap. That’s our game. You can see it HERE<— And by “see” I mean “Play” of course.
I sit, eyes focused on the once pristine white mac keyboard, now soiled by ramen noodle juice and finger smudges.
It’s hard to describe my feelings after this experience. Perhaps I’m still too close, having yet sorted though all the data in my head. I think an even balance of the pride and satisfaction creating what we did, and the disappointment with the things that didn’t make it, or just bugged out for whatever magical ‘the world is against me’ reasons caused the feeling I have. But this is jumping the gun… or shark… or shark guns… what about the beginning?
Our background is in video production, sketch comedy. Video game development is an entirely new venture for us. When it all boils down, Ludum Dare, although incredibly challenging was probably the best way for us to start. It forced us to learn new programs, technics and theories for game dev that otherwise we would’ve been very slow to get into. We started with the warm-up weekend, making a game about a penguin that throws corndogs (may very well be a WIP still). On the Thursday before the Jam, we finally had a build where you could move the penguin and throw a corndog (with some minor bug issues including Infinite CornDog Syndrome). The head hits the table. How do we make a game in 72 hours?
Our start times are 9pm and 10pm, our team living on the east coast and the mid-west (US). We started a skype with a third team member (Drew… Oh by the way, I’m Alex (programmer/music). This is Mikhail(art). Nice to meet you.) who we knew had a busy weekend ahead, so we wanted to make sure we got his involvement in the idea phase. Eagerly we wait, shaking with anticipation of what creative juices would be… juiced… from the inspiring theme. Refresh. What’s the theme? Minimalism… Minimalism?
Who’s idea was that!? We were so excited about doing the LD, then the theme was announced, and we didn’t care anymore. It just didn’t inspire us.
Side Note: Before when I said video game development was an entirely new venture for us… I lied. Well, slightly. It is a new adventure for us, just not for me. I’ve made one game before, and it was a minimalistic platformer made with GameSalad. I chose to make it a minimalism style game from the beginning because I knew I didn’t have an artist, and I wanted to be able to say, “yea, no, it’s supposed to look like that.“ I didn’t want to do another minimalism game.
We started the Google image search, trying to find ideas and art that would inspire us, but not much luck there. There was inspiration to be found in our skype meeting however. You see one of us, and we won’t name names, apparently thought that the human body turned beer into oxygen, making it necessary to drink a lot of it. So the idea started to get thrown around. How about if you are drunk, and when you drink things become simpler and more minimalistic, making it easier to get around?
But we really didn’t know how we would go about doing that; it seemed complicated. Moving on. Idea after idea was pitched, but none of them were really games. They were art styles, themes, but not gameplay ideas. So we went back to the drinking idea. Let’s do a bit of that… then do a game.
After 4 hours, we had an idea and a plan to make it happen.
Saturday morning things seemed to go well, getting a temp character in, and the flow to change drunk stages. But then it seemed like issue after issue. Player spawned super high off the ground. Drinking animation wouldn’t play. Player location wouldn’t stay correct between scenes. But I’m sure all of this is common in game development, and this is the middle of the story anyway. Who cares, what’s important is the beginning and the end, so I’ll skip to that. The end… we already did the beginning…
Sunday is done, we are at work on Monday, and there is still a lot to do. I left a couple hours early from work to start doing music and sfx. Luckily Drew was around and able to do the VO work. By the late afternoon, we were pretty aware of what was and was not going to make it into the game. After cutting out some art, a puzzle, we were ready to upload it to the web and call it a day.
Then we realized audio was missing. It worked well in the engine, but when publishing the game, they disappeared. I fiddled with it for about another hour without any idea what was wrong, and finally called it a day. Go to bed.
In the end, of course we are disappointed in the incomplete art and the missing audio clips. That audio really tied the room together. But what we did was pretty awesome; we made a game, beginning to end. We took a theme we hated and created an idea that wasn’t just squares and circles. Mikhail made some great art, even though he’s never done pixel art before and didn’t have any sort of drawing tablet. He’s going to be doing more pixel stuff in the future. Count on it. I said Count!
So where do we go from here? Well you’ll want to continue down this road and take a right at the Old Creek Mill. If you pass the schoolhouse, you’ve gone to far. What? Oh the game stuff, right.
Will we complete NightCap? Well, a bit early to say, but if we don’t we will still take a lot from what we learned with us.
Will we do another Ludum Dare? I think most definitely we will be joining you lot again down the road… but not past the schoolhouse… that’s too far.
What about that penguin game? You mean, “Corndog Tuxedo”… we’ll see… we’ll see.
I want to thank everyone for playing the game! And the comments, they’re great. You all have a wonderful day. Guns Up!